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Town Board Meeting - December 2016
The Pig, The Golf Course, The Flood Map
December 10, 2016

wo local businesses – one, a few months old, the other nearing half a century – told the Oriental Town Board that they are facing challenges. The comments from a local grocer and a local golf course came during the Public Comment period of the Town Board’s December 6 meeting.

Nick Calcavecchia, speaking on behalf of Minnesott Golf & Country Club, told the Board that the club has served as a valuable asset for over 47 years, but has lost focus of its original charter: to serve local residents. He says he wants the county to know the club is open to them and needs their support.

To that end, he told the Board that here will be a half-price membership drive at the end of the year. Also, on December 17, at 8:30 am, MGCC is hosting an “Ugly Sweater Pancake Breakfast.” There will be putt-putt for kids and a 9-hole for adults. Children 12 and under eat free.

Billy Flockhart, who opened Oriental’s Piggly Wiggly store in July, told the Board “the support I thought I would get, I’m not getting.” Last month, he said, he was $7,000 below breaking even. As the typically slower winter months approach, he said he is worried about January, February, and March. He said he needed more people shopping at the Pig.

He appeared worried, while at the same time trying to express his gratitude for those who do shop at his store. One tack Billy Flockhart is taking, is a “shop The Pig first” campaign: encouraging area residents to first go to the Piggly Wiggly and if they can’t find what they need, only then seek out other grocery chains.

Flockhart also sought Town Hall’s help with getting a $5,500 fee reimbursed from the county. He was charged that fee anticipating his store would be using far more flow capacity than the WalMart had in that same space. A check of usage, he says, finds that his Oriental store is not using appreciably more.

In the Commissioners discussion period, Commissioner David White thanked Billy for speaking. and said the community owed it to him to shop at The Pig first. Fellow commissioner Barb Venturi called for supporting the store, along with the golf course. Both the Pig and the Minnesott Country Club, she said, are vital to Oriental and if we lost them it’d inevitably be a matter of “you don’t know what you got til it’s gone.”

During public comments, former Town Commissioner Larry Summers requested signage for public restrooms.

In other action, the Board re-scheduled a Public hearing over a short-term rental Special Use Permit request for the Gallinger property at 409 High Street. It is now set for January 3, at the Board’s next meeting.

The hearing was initially scheduled for the December 6 meeting but had to be cancelled as public notice of the hearing was not properly given. (Local print media did not print the announcement Town Hall says it had submitted.)

The hearing on January 3 is an opportunity for the public to comment on whether the Town should grant the SUP so that the house at 409 High Street next to the Lupton Park playground, may be rented out by the day, week or month. Homes in Oriental’s R2 and R3 residential neighborhoods may do so only with an SUP, according to the town’s Land Use rules.

FEMA is redrawing its floodplain maps which were last updated using 1988 data. The maps are used, among other things, to set homeowner’s insurance policy rates. This remapping is based on data gathered up until 2010. Hurricane Irene’s historic flooding in Oriental and the county in 2011 will not be taken in to account. That it was cut off before 2011 will benefit residents, according to Town Manager Diane Miller.

Residents will have a chance to view the new maps online in the coming weeks. A public meeting will be held the first or second week in January followed by a 90-day comment period in which people can request any necessary changes to their address.

Adjustments were made to Town employees personnel policy. Medical and dental coverage will now available to all full-time employees working 32 hour weeks, 90 days from their hire date. The Town had been providing those benefits to those working 30 hours a week.

Sick leave no longer covers “death in the family.” Bereavement leave is now offered for up to five days.

During the holidays, part-time employees will get paid if it’s a day they normally work; won’t get paid if it’s a day they don’t normally work.

Joe Valinoti and Doug Carmichael were reappointed to the Board of Adjustment. Lee Barham was reappointed to the Parks and Rec Board. The Town Bosard was unanimous on all appointments.

Police report:
November was uneventful according to Police Chief Dwaine Moore. He had a safety suggestion. Noting that there are more hours of darkness, he asked that joggers and bikers be mindful and use the right side of the road, and wear reflective gear.

Manager’s report:

  • Town Manager Diane Miller says the Town is expecting an 85-100% reimbursement from FEMA for costs related to Hurricane Matthew.

  • Duke Energy is scheduled to come to Oriental on December 16 to wire streetside poles – primarily along Hodges Street – so that electricity can light up holiday decorations.
  • On a related note, some of the newly purchased holiday fixtures installed on Broad Street were extending a bit too far into the street and were damaged by tall vehicles. The low-hanging decorations are being moved off Broad where possible.
  • An SUP request for a microbrewery/taproom is expected to come before the Board in February.
  • Duke Energy awarded a grant to Oriental to cover the cost of installing two public electric vehicle (PEV) charging stations.
  • The holding tank pump-out at the 2nd Town Dock is currently not working. Someone used it improperly and fuses blew. It is getting fixed, though the pump-out will not be available for use during freezing weather.
  • Free Wi-Fi in town is up and working. Look for “Public Docks.”
  • Filling potholes in town continues. If you find any potholes, contact Town Hall to report the location.

All Commissioners – Charlie Overcash, David White, Barb Venturi, Sandy Winfrey, and Allen Price – were present, as was Mayor Sally Belangia.

Posted Saturday December 10, 2016 by Melinda Penkava

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